Monday, February 14, 2022

The Best Chocolate Chiffon Cake

My Mom made the most delicious cakes for special events like birthdays, or Valentine's Day. When I saw the angel food pan coming out, I knew that we were going to have either a delicious Angel Food cake or her favourite Chocolate Chiffon cake. It was going to be a special day. 

Mom would have had her 98th birthday this past week. She passed away from cancer when she was only 54, and I was 20 years old. We should have had so many more celebrations together. My kids never got to know her, but I keep trying to tell little stories and memories about the Grandma they never met. I thought I would like to celebrate her birthday this year by making the Chocolate Chiffon Cake for my family.

My mom, Josephine or Joey, as everyone called her, was born on a small farm in Saskatchewan during the 1920s. She was the 10th child born, and they had already lost 3 of the siblings to infectious diseases that swept across the prairies in those years. 

The day she was born was her older brother Jim's 9th birthday, and he was very sad because no one was paying attention to him. It was not being such a special day, and there wasn't going to be a cake or any presents. He just sat out on the step for a good part of the day. Later their father came out to him and handed him a little bundle and told him that she was his new little sister and that she was his present and the very best present he could have wished for. He took this very seriously, cared for her, and loved her deeply. She told me that she followed him around like a puppy! They remained very close and always tried to keep in touch, despite living far apart, right until my mom's death.  

Happy Birthday thoughts to Uncle Jim and Mom on their day.


Jim and Joey

My mom and her parents.


This vintage cake might sound harder to bake than it really is, so I hope people just go ahead and give it a try. Trust me, the taste is worth it! I like to approach it one bowl at a time, and then the combining part is quick and easy. This is all about keeping it light, fluffy and yummy. 



Chocolate Chiffon Cake 

  • 1/2 cup Cocoa
  • 2/3 cup Boiling Water
  • 1 3/4 cup  Flour (sifted) cake flour is ideal
  • 1 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup Cooking Oil
  • 7 Egg Yolks (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 7 Egg Whites (room temperature)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Clean a 10-inch angel food tube pan with soap and water. It is important not to have any grease on the pan or it won't rise as well. I also like to cut a piece of parchment to fit in the bottom of the pan. The eggs have to be at room temperature so that they whip up to maximum volume. 

In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder with the boiling water and stir so it is well combined. Now just put it to the side so it cools down..

The second bowl is for the dry ingredients. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.

The third bowl has the oil, egg yolks and vanilla. Mix until smooth.

In the fourth bowl beat/whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until it forms very stiff peaks.

Next, we gently mix the cooled cocoa mixture into the oil and egg yolk mixture. Don't beat it, just combine it.

Now, using beaters we mix the cocoa and oil mix into the second bowl with the flour mixture and beat until smooth. 

Carefully use a rubber spatula to fold a quarter of the egg whites into the batter and repeat until all the egg whites are folded in and combined. Be gentle and just fold, do not stir. You want it mixed, but you really want to trap as much air into the cake as possible.

Pour into the ungreased tube pan. Bake for 60 minutes at 325 degrees or until a wooden skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Let it cool upside down in the pan. 

When cool, turn it run a knife around the pan and remove the cake!

We like to dust it with icing sugar and serve it with ice cream or whipping cream. Fresh raspberries make a particularly nice garnish.

Enjoy!


Sunday, February 6, 2022

Walking in Winter


I would love to be walking outside, at least on the slightly warmer days. I tried to work on walking outside at the beginning of December when I was getting ready to do a 1k walk called the Santa Shuffle hosted by the Salvation Army.  I was walking outside short distances each day with my daughter despite the icy, snowy sidewalks. Everyone, including the physiotherapist, was warning me to be extra careful and not fall again.  My cane has gripping spikes I can pop down when needed, and my sweet sweet friend Mindy even sent me some grips to put on over my boots to help keep me from slipping! I was very excited to reach my goal and participate in this virtual charity event, at an indoor location of my choice, but there was a downside.

 I still need to get my left knee replaced and when my physiotherapist assessed me a week after the official walk it turned out that my walking gait had actually gone downhill. She thinks that when I pushed myself to walk on the bad knee I favoured that leg in a weird sort of way that could cause serious damage to my hips as they continue to heal and strengthen. My gait has been less than perfect for almost 14 years, and so has my balance, but this is pushing it all to a new level.

 Soooo I have been just sitting around safely at home wayyy too much. 

My husband Bob and I finally had enough and went for a drive in our neighbourhood yesterday. We have had several big snowstorms so with the streets freshly plowed we decided to get out of the house at long last. We started our drive by going to the closest Salvation Army Thrift Store where we donated some clothes at their drop-off area. We followed that by getting a burger at a fast-food places drive-through and then eating it in their parking lot.  

I still wasn't ready to go home so we drove around and took a few pictures in our neighbourhood. It was around 4:30 in the afternoon and dusk was already beginning so the pictures have an extra grey and blue tone to them that I love. I personally think the short days are worse than the extreme cold we can face here in the middle of Canada.  Bob is an amazing photographer and I thank him for letting me share his photos. I hope you enjoy them. Look at the height of some of those snowbanks!











Sunday, January 30, 2022

I'm Hoping For a Better Year


Welcome back to my Blog!


I have been stalling about writing this post but it is time to update you about how I am doing and try to get back to the fun and informative stuff. It's time to get back to Leading a Healthy Life! I am busy thinking up projects to keep me busy until spring. Easy, low-energy projects. Any suggestions? I promise to share regularly!


What is Happening Lately?


We have been working on decluttering our house, which has really gotten away from us, especially this past year. We are trying to figure out new ways of looking at all our spaces, belongings and at our many collections. It will undoubtedly lead to a few little home repairs. 


I am also working on my general health, but I am primarily working on controlling my weight. After a lifetime of serious weight issues, I was doing pretty well last summer and I felt optimistic. Unfortunately, in the past 3 months, after breaking my second hip, my weight has started climbing up again, so it's time to really focus on weight loss again.


I usually tend to be kind of private about my weight issues and clutter issues. Still, sharing might help me on my journey and perhaps help others struggling with similar problems. 


I am making progress with my hip recovery, so I am currently sorting out my return to work plan. Exercise had been hard despite encouragement from my physiotherapist and I do have a ways to go in my recovery. Still, I love my job and I am even more passionate about Therapeutic Recreation.  I believe work accommodations will be possible. I should find out soon.


My Miserable Year and Catching Everyone Up.


I have not really coped well with this past year. I consider myself a relatively resilient person, but I think that somewhere in the past 6 months, we found out the limit of my reserve. I realize everything could have been much worse. So many people have experienced enormous tragedies over the past couple of years. We are all doing better at my house, and our family is in good or improving health. I can walk, and I am grateful for that. Life is starting to look up a bit. 


It is a year and a month since I rather dramatically dislocated my artificial hip. I thought of so many worse-case scenarios in those first hours and days after my injury until they managed to get the hip prosthesis back in place. I was given the hope that three months in a hip brace would allow me to recover and that I would be back to my everyday life by March. 


Then it partially dislocated again briefly! I thought I would have a repair surgery shortly, but it was months. Then I thought, ok, we can get through this. It was June before I finally got the surgery to fully repair my hip. Recovery was painful and challenging, but I did my exercises and tried to have a good attitude. It would really be fixed in 4 months and, finally, it would be back to everyday life.


 In the meantime, the knee replacement surgery I was booked for had been cancelled with no idea when it could be rebooked. We had believed that by the beginning of 2021 I would have the knee fixed, Covid would be under control, my savings account would have improved and we might even have a getaway trip with a few friends. That new knee and I would be hiking all over the place.


Unfortunately, in September, I fell at the cottage when my left knee collapsed and I landed on my left "Good Hip". It broke so badly that I needed an emergency replacement for that one too.


Hip Recovery has been slow, and my attitude could have been better. The Knee Replacement is on hold for now. Continuing close-downs with Covid and particularly harsh winter conditions have added to the stress, affected my recovery and resulted in nasty cabin fever for my family, but I think I see a glimmer of hope coming soon.


I will be back here next Sunday with a much happier and more positive post. Please check it out on February 6th!


Sunday, September 26, 2021

Here I Go Again

 I am in the hospital yet again! 

The hospital I’m in.
I fell and broke my “good” left Hip!  It was severe enough that they couldn’t fix the top of my femur so they had to give me a total hip replacement on that left leg.  The right hip is not yet fully recovered from the revision so I am basically really wobbly and in quite a bit of pain. I have been hanging together the best I can but it is really hard to keep up my spirit and trust that this too shall pass.

My “100 day physio challenge” kind of ended abruptly, and I was rocking it too!   I guess that in a few weeks I shall hit a reset button.  The physiotherapist that I work with when I’m home is aware and already getting informed about my condition. Tomorrow I should get some information about what to do next from the hospital physiotherapist.

I’ll write more about how I broke my hip in a separate post. I am still kind of processing that this is really happening. Can you believe that this is the 4th time in 39 months  that I have been hospitalized due to a hip issue?

Even while lying on the ground, first injured last week, I started saying “not again”, over and over, and in the past couple days it has become “here we go again”. It seems that when I experience these life crisis I find myself with song lyrics running through my head. That doesn’t mean the whole song is relevant, but that something in the lyrics or melody resonates with me. 

 I searched youtube for the tunes I was humming and this is what I came up with. 

In a few months, this might be the beginning of my Rewind Recovery Exercise Playlist! 

Edit: It looks like I can’t figure out how to share the YouTube videos via my phone since the recent update to blogger and I’m just not up to working on it. I’ll fix it someday. 

Trust me- it would of had you rock on and dancing between Whitesnake with “Here I Go Again” Dolly Parton with “Here You Come Again” and blasting off with a Mamma Mia! clip of “Here We Go Again”

Here I Go Again


Here You Come Again 



Here We Go Again 



Tuesday, August 24, 2021

100 Day Fitness Challenge.

On your mark, get set and...
I am committing to my own:

One Hundred Day Fitness Challenge

Believe me, friends, I still have a very, very long way to go. I need a plan to improve my health in general, but you have to start somewhere with specific goals. So I plan to start by fully committing to doing my physiotherapy exercises and trying to walk regularly.


I started this blog in 2008 when I was facing massive health challenges, and I am very proud of how far I have come. I know the routines for getting better. But...

  

This latest crisis with my hip dislocation and resulting surgery has taken a lot out of me, and I am struggling. I don't feel like I have a lot of fight left in me at the moment. Maybe it is a bit of reaction to staying home for the past year and a half, not working for the past 8 months, and not socializing. I do think a lot of my hesitancy has to do with lingering fear after that sudden horrific dislocation. I just have a sense of anxiety about how one simple movement can change a life. I "feel" much safer on my couch.

 

Logically I know that the best course of action is to work, yet again, on strengthening those muscles and on my cardiovascular health. I am working with an excellent physiotherapist and I am sure that the exercises are appropriate and necessary. My hip is recovering correctly, if slowly, but it is certainly uncomfortable and is a constant reminder that things are still not quite right. As a matter of fact, I have had such limited mobility since December that I feel like all my muscles have turned into jello.


 I really need to have mypainful left knee replaced too, but I am backing off from that surgery for now. The surgeon and I agree that I have already been through enough for one year, but it does need to happen sooner rather than later. I really need to keep working on getting that knee strong so that I will be ready when that surgery happens. Loosing more weight wouldn't hurt either.


 I recently started following Nina Adrian Torres on Facebook and YouTube. She has severe Rheumatoid Arthritis and has had 19 surgeries related to her condition. What I like about Nina is that she has a positive attitude and go-to approach to life. She is a strong supporter of others, and especially other arthritis sufferers. She is a passionate and positive force in the lives of the school kids she works with and with her coworkers. She is firm in her faith and feels lifted up and that she is doing what she is meant to do. She rises to the challenges in her life, even when it is so hard, through her trust in God.  

Nina is on day 3 of her own Get Fit 100 Day Challenge. I'm jumping on board by trying to do 100 days in a row myself!


Nina has been saying,

"It's not how many times you fall - it's how many times you get back up!"

 Do you think I can do it? Can I find my get up and go again?

Ok, everyone. 

I'm getting back up.

 I have things I want to do!

I still want to be Leading A Healthy Life!


Lets Go!


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